CIO50 2022 #26-50 Suzanne Hall, Jewish Care Victoria
Suzanne Hall, Head of IT with Jewish Care Victoria, and her team led a digital transformation program for the more than 170-year old, not-for-profit organisation that seeks to build and support a healthy, resilient and inclusive Jewish community.
Formed in 1848, Jewish Care supports more than 6,000 people and their families each year, providing residential aged care, community and In-home aged care, disability services and community support services such as financial assistance, family violence, housing support, employment support and Holocaust Survivor support programs.
Melbourne is actually home to the largest population of Holocaust survivors per capita outside of Israel.
At its core, Jewish Care’s service delivery model is “person centred care”, Hall tells CIO Australia, underscoring the vital role played by the tech team in providing effective digital solutions.
“Ongoing innovation and improvement is critical to ensure Jewish Care is providing the best care possible to our clients whilst using technology to minimise costs and improve work practices and productivity.”
Frustrated by the high costs and administrative overhead of existing manual processes, in 2022 Hall and her team embarked on a project to improve “mobility” for the organisation’s 300 community aged care support workers and 60 disability support workers, to change the way they operate and improve delivery of services to clients.
They now have access to real-time client information and care plans, better communications with clients and smarter rostering and less administrative burden due to reduced manual processing.
In addition, staff are also provided with real-time information on their clients, while also benefiting from GPS tracking to enhance worker safety, as well as electronic sign on/sign off for shifts, removing manual timesheets.
Hall notes, this has allowed Jewish Care to improve staff retention during a time of significant growth, while also reaping significant cost savings especially by needing to employ less “agency” staff, at the same time spending less on printing and postage.
Video has also emerged as a powerful tool for Jewish Care Victoria.
“Over the past two years, COVID-19 has impacted our aged care residents’ ability to remain connected – with family, community, culture and religion,” she explains. “This continues in 2022 with ad hoc facility lockdowns during COVID-19 outbreaks.”
During these periods video conferencing allowed for meaningful interactions between residents and their families. Activities like exercise, yoga and ‘craft’ were moved to video, likewise for various cultural and religious services.
“It is now part of our standard procedures and when a facility goes into lockdown/outbreak our activities easily transition back to video conferencing,” Hall says.
The mobility and video projects form part of the broader Jewish Care Digital Strategy developed by Hall and her team, which is a multi-year program underpinned by 38 key initiatives.
“The Digital Strategy represents a significant investment in time, resources and technology, especially for a NFP organisation, over the next 3-5 years,” she notes.
Having garnered support for it from the Board, Hall also advocated successfully for the creation of a Digital Strategy Steering Committee, which is chaired by a board member and includes the CEO, CFO, two other members and Hall herself. Thanks to her influence, Jewish Care Victoria also has an IT Governance Committee with representation from across the Jewish Care Executive and senior leadership teams.